1. This was a suit for a declaration of title to certain properties. The valuation put by the plaintiff on the plaint was Rs. 5,000. This made the suit cognizable by the Subordinate Judge in his ordinary jurisdiction. One of the defences set up was that having regard to the value of the property, the suit should have been heard by the Munsif. Although this objection was raised at an early stage no preliminary issue was fixed (as to which Court should hear the case) and no decision was come to. The parties produced their evidence on the merits of the case and after the whole case had been argued both on the preliminary point and on the merits, the learned Subordinate Judge found that the Value of the subject-matter of the suit was less than Rs. 5,000 and that the case should be heard by the Munsif. He, accordingly, directed that the plaint should be returned to the plaintiff for presentation to the Court of the Munsif.
2. Mr. Panna Lal on behalf of the plaintiff contends that the entire case having been heard by the learned Subordinate Judge it was for him to hear the case on the merits also and not to return the plaint for presentation to the proper Court. We agree with this contention. The jurisdiction of the Subordinate Judge and the District Judge is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the Munsif where the subject-matter of the suit does not exceed the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsif. This was held in the Fall Bench case of Nidhi Lal v. Mazhar Husain 7 A. 230 : A.W.N. (1885) 1 (F.B.). It was too late in the day for the learned Subordinate Judge to return the plaint for presentation to the Munsif. It was not at all desirable that the whole evidence should be heard again by the Munsif and the parties should be put to the expense of producing all the evidence, once again.
3. In the circumstances of the case, we set aside the order of the Court below and direct it to decide the case on the merits. Costs here and hitherto will abide the result.